Thursday, February 16, 2006

Last December I told you about a silly-sounding novel by Robert Ferrigno called Prayers for the Assassin, in which it's 2040 and Americans drink "Jihad Cola" -- Islamofascists have taken over the country by force, you see, albeit with a number of willing Muslim converts, especially in Hollyweird. The only unconquered territory is the Bible Belt. (Everywhere else, presumably, people just shrugged and said, "Oh well, guess I'm not an Episcopalian anymore. Whatever. I suppose I ought to throw out that spiral-cut ham I've got in the freezer.")

Today, Janet Maslin reviews the book in The New York Times. Now, I haven't read the book, so I'm intrigued to learn this about it and its heroine, "feisty young historian Sarah Dougan":

It is Sarah's contention, as well as Mr. Ferrigno's, that the seeds of destruction can be seen in America's present-day reverence for celebrities, extreme tastes in pornography and across-the-board decadence. "They were so free, so unencumbered by morality, that they craved chains," one character says about the late 20th century.

And then there's this about "[a] sinister powermonger known as the Old One":

"The nuclear attack merely toppled a rotten tree," the Old One intones. Mr. Ferrigno propounds the rotten-tree theory and also appreciates Islam's power to persuade. "Muslims were the only people with a clear plan and a helping hand," one character explains, "and everyone was equal in the eyes of Allah. That's what they said, anyway."

Is that Ferrigno's point? Does he actually believe we could fall to the jihadis because we'd like it if that happened?

That's nuts. Do you detect a craving among people of your acquaintance for the strictures of Wahhabist Islam? I sure don't. Most of the people I know like gender equality and R-rated movies and alcohol and pork. Who thinks the Islamists' behavioral code is appealing?

Robert Ferrigno, perhaps?

That's what I'm wondering -- whether Ferrigno (and who knows how many other right-wingers) think America and Europe might be susceptible to the blandishments of the jihadis because they themselves, the right-wingers, find the jihadis' moral code rather seductive.

I'd say they're the ones who "crave chains" -- Bush says he can spy on them without warrants, jail them without charges, and they say, "Yes, master, we admire you greatly!" Various conservative religious denominations reject premarital sex, masturbation, homosexuality, contraception, strong drink, male-female dancing, dating, cusswords -- and right-wingers are flocking to these denominations, while abandoning old-line Protestantism and liberal strains of Catholicism and Judaism. By contrast, the rest of us are watching Sex and the City reruns on TBS or playing Grand Theft Auto or downloading songs about people's butts. And we feel fine.

If Ferrigno wants to know who might respond to the siren song of sharia, he should check out the people at his own book signings. If he wants to know who wouldn't chafe at the Islamists' moral code, he ought to go to the very Bible Belt he's sure would be the center of the resistance.


And speaking of resemblances between Islamic extremists and the local variety, I see that this is the silly news story of the day:

Iran Renames Danish Pastries

Iranians love Danish pastries, but when they look for the flaky dessert at the bakery they now have to ask for "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad."

Bakeries across the capital were covering up their ads for Danish pastries Thursday after the confectioners' union ordered the name change in retaliation for caricatures of the Muslim prophet published in a Danish newspaper....

Hmmm. Freedom fries, anyone?

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